The Sharks started as follows, Dylan having passed his late fitness test he started in goal once again. Followed by Elliott, Jack, Giacomo, Jake, Caleb, and Freddie filling the starting 7 places which meant that Liam, Aidan and Josh all started from the bench. Once again, we were assigned what appeared to be a official looking ref which was pleasing to see, as I knew this game was going to be closely fought as we just about overcome the same opposition no more than 4 weeks previous.
The Sharks started brightly but didn’t have a lot of the ball to show for their efforts, it was looking like this was going to be a tough morning for the boys. The opposition showed a lot of respect for the Sharks by keeping two defenders back at all times, this gave me hope, as currently the Sharks were not stringing many passes together and playing into the opposition’s hands to often. After about 5/10 minutes the Sharks managed to get to grips with the game, Jack was trying to play the ball wide and up the wings when possible, Elliott was also trying to show his ability on the ball by trying to playing out from the back, but on occasions they were being tackled and caught on the ball when the simple pass would have done the job. Giacomo was once again being busy in the middle of the park but was not really getting that much joy. Freddie was finding it hard to get himself involved in the game, because I was asking him to hold his position out wide trying to get them to stretch the play and create space for other players. The same could be said for Caleb on the other side of midfield, he was battling hard but wasn’t really getting much joy, and Jake in his attempts to get the ball was dropping too deep into midfield leaving the Sharks with no outlet ball when the ball was played up field.
After some encouraging words from the side lines, Jake adjusted his position to provide an outlet, Elliott and Jack started passing the ball out from the back a little more which gave Freddie some more ball, that enabled him to use his quick feet to try and create for the forward running players. The Sharks managed to then take the lead, this was through some excellent work from Liam who by this point had come on to the field of play along with Josh and Aidan. Liam picked the ball up on the left-hand side of midfield and drove with the ball up the wing, this put the Sharks in a more advanced position and enabled us to build our attacks further up the pitch. The opposition were defending well but only managed to half clear their lines. The ball broke to Gaicomo close to the oppositions penalty area, he drove into the box before unleashing thunderous shot into the roof of the net giving the oppositions goalkeeper no chance of saving it.
With the Sharks leading, you could see the belief in the lads that they could go on to win this game comfortably, but this was a dangerous thing, as rather than holding our shape everyone decided that they wanted to get themselves on the scoresheet. This meant that we were leaving ourselves open at the back and giving the opposition forwards the freedom they wanted as well as the space they needed. With this the opposition they managed to draw themselves level, with the ball once again bouncing around in the middle of the park. The opposition played a neat through ball, which cut out our defence completely and allowed one of the opposition forward to charge in on goal with both Elliott and Jack giving chase. With the ball getting closer to Dylan I was expecting him to come and claim the ball as it was getting close enough for him to do so, but he choose to stay on his line instead and the ball trickled into our net uncontested. A disappointing goal to concede and Dylan was upset about this and threw his cap down in disgust. This will be a mental challenge now for Dylan as goalkeepers have a thankless task of being either the hero or the villain, but I am very grateful to Dylan for playing in goal full time.
So, with the scores level and the game evenly balanced, the Sharks managed to pull ahead again through Jake this time. It is good to see that Jake has found his goal scoring touch again as the effort that he shows deserves a reward, and todays goal was his fourth in two games. The build-up play was again good, with some good work from Jack, Giacomo and Freddie all playing their part in creating the chance for Jake which he took with great glee.
As the first half came to a close the Sharks were leading, I expected the opposition to come back at us again. We have learnt that we have to keep playing until the final whistle.
So, the second half got under way and the Sharks looked in a dominate mood with Aidan now finding his feet and running down the right wing effortlessly, taking people on, drawing fouls. He will soon become a very important player, and the best thing about this that he wants to and can also score goals.
The Sharks managed to score another goal doubling our advantage, this was directly down to Aidan, working hard, getting the ball and playing a great through ball that fell to Giacomo. He made no mistakes by planting his shot wide of the goalkeeper and making that his second goal of the game.
This seemed to stun the opposition, and they retreated further back into their own half which in turn gave the Sharks the space they needed to exploit whilst looking for another goal, and this dually came via Jake and his right foot. This was his second goal of the game and fifth in two games so again a massive well done.
The opposition then had a rare chance to grab a goal back, but thanks to Dylan’s brillant save we manager to keep our advantage as it was. With some words of encouragement, and a reminder that we had to keep our shape we were able to make changes to both positions, and the players on the pitch.
Josh is continuing to develop and is making steady progress, Caleb is also becoming a valuable member of the team, with his ability to be able to play in a number of positions.
With the team reshaped the Sharks were awarded a penalty for a foul in the oppositions box, it was the right decision but also good play from the lads, as they kept the pressure on and retained the ball in the box drawing the foul. As Jack has been given the duty of penalty taker, he placed the ball down, waited for the Ref to indicate that he was allowed to take and he then took the penalty well, dispatching the ball perfectly into the back of the net with a clean strike of the ball.
With only minutes remaining in the second half the Sharks were controlling the game well, the score line was a fair reflection on their performance, if anything the score line could have been greater, but some good saves from the oppositions goal keeper meant we had to settle for what we had already achieved.
So, the game finished and the Sharks had won again, the boys must be enjoying this winning streak as much as I am. So, we move onto next week full of confidence, and looking to continue this run.
Thanks again to all the parents for bringing and supporting the boys, it is great seeing them develop and improve their own games.
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